Best of NQ 1998 Contents
  Presidential Kneepad Award
  Wired Wicked Witch Award
  Hallucinating Hillary Award
  Corporal Cueball Carville Cadet Award
  Steve Brill Media Masochism Award
  Media McCarthyism Award
  The Everybody But Us Shut Up Award
  Starr Behind Bars Award
  Good Morning Morons Award
  Move Over Buddy Award
  Damn Those Conservatives Award
  Politics of Meaninglessness Award
  Carve Clinton into Mt. Rushmore Award
  Too Late for the Ballot
  Quote of the Year
  1998 Award Judges
  Press Coverage

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  MRC Latest Analysis
  Media Reality Check
  Notable Quotables
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The Best Notable Quotables of 1998:

The Eleventh Annual Awards for the
Year’s Worst Reporting

Presidential Kneepad Award
(for Best Lewinsky Impression)

First Place

"The ironies for a President not given to irony are endless. Consider this: the best chance for Clinton to shine in history might be for Congress to force him to pay the price for lying about sex. In the unlikely event he is pushed from office, it would take only weeks, maybe just days, before a vast national remorse set in. We destroyed our lovable rogue prince of prosperity over this? Clinton would become a martyr to a legal system run amok. His defeat would mean victory over not just sheet-sniffing prosecutors but all those who would criminalize politics with endless investigations. As legacies go, balancing the budget might look puny by comparison." 
Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter in the Aug. 24 issue. [63 points]

"Well, he’s been elected twice with people knowing he has had affairs. Now is the fact that this woman is 21. I mean, she’s still of age, I suppose. You know, I think that the distaste that people may feel for this will also be because of the fact that the probing into this person’s private life has occurred. I think past Presidents, Lyndon Johnson for one, certainly Jack Kennedy, these things went on, you know, libido and leadership is often linked." 
— Eleanor Clift reacting to charges the President had sexual relations with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, live MSNBC coverage at about 5pm ET, January 21, the day the story broke. [50]

"‘The only people who count in any marriage are the two that are in it.’ There is a simple alchemy to their relationship: she’s goofy, flat-out in love with him and he with her. ‘They don’t kiss. They devour each other,’ says one aide. He needs her — for intellectual solace, political guidance and spiritual sustenance ....Clinton haters and even some supporters wonder whether their marriage will end with the presidency. That seems wildly unlikely. Neither Clinton plans to trade in a public career for shuffleboard. As long as they’re in the limelight, their turbulent partnership seems certain to endure — for better or worse. That’s because they see themselves in almost Messianic terms, as great leaders who have a mission to fulfill. Her friends speculate that the Bible gives her a historical context for what she’s going through. ‘There’s a lot of consolation, guidance and refueling that comes from reading about centuries- old calamities,’ says a friend. Given the storm they’re in, it’s a source of inspiration they’ll need." 
— Matthew Cooper and Karen Breslau, Feb. 9 Newsweek. [48]

"Who has ever been punished more for adultery in this country? I mean, you have to go to Saudi Arabia to see people shamed the way the President was. And I think it was nobody’s business." 
Time’s Margaret Carlson on NBC’s Today, August 19. [44]

"In the gaudy mansion of Clinton’s mind there are many rooms with heavy doors, workrooms and playrooms, rooms stuffed with trophies, rooms to stash scandals and regrets. He walks lightly amid the ironies of his talents and behavior, just by consigning them to different cubbies of his brain. It’s an almost scary mind, that of a multitasking wizard who plays hearts while he talks on the phone with a head of state, who sits through a dense briefing on chemical weapons intently doing a crossword puzzle, only to take reporters’ questions hours later and repeat whole sections of the briefing word for word."
Time Senior Editor Nancy Gibbs opening a news story in the March 2 issue. [40]


Wired Wicked Witch Award
(for Loathing Linda Tripp)

First Place

"If there were an Ig-Nobel Peace Prize, who would win it?
Slobodan Milosevic 
Osama bin Ladin
Saddam Hussein
Linda Tripp"
— "What do you think?" question of the day on the home page, October 15. [94 points]

"Tripp lost membership in the family of man when day after day she looked into Monica Lewinsky’s eyes as a friend and at night hit the ‘on’ button on her Radio Shack tape recorder. No, there’s enough about Tripp to criticize without getting to the heart of her darkness. While we are trying to make up our minds about the other characters in the drama, she can safely be cast as a villain — the Mark Fuhrman of the Starr investigation — because of her perfect rendition of the friend from hell." 
Time’s Margaret Carlson responding to Jonah Goldberg in a Slate "dialogue" about Linda Tripp, June 30. [72] 

"And Kathleen Willey also spoke about Linda Tripp, a Clinton-basher who seems to be at every ugly turn in this controversy. Tripp was outside the Oval Office when Willey emerged from her encounter with the President...Just how is it that Linda Tripp is so often conveniently involved in the President’s troubles? For some clues let’s bring in The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, who has profiled the controversial Miss Tripp in this week’s issue. You write that co-workers often viewed her as an inveterate busybody. Has she always been a snoop and a gossip with a particular interest in other people’s romantic lives?" 
— Bryant Gumbel on Public Eye, March 17. [53]

"Hello, good evening and welcome back to Hell. Can we renounce our citizenships for like only 24 hours? This thought before we begin: For months, William Howard Ginsburg took shot after shot on this program and others for some of his legal strategy. But throughout his stewardship of the Monica Lewinsky defense we praised him here for at least one noble constant: He never let us even hear his client’s voice. God, do we miss him tonight. Okay, one of them will read the part of the irresponsible adolescent, the other will narrate the lines of the pathetic, self-destroying, older loser and you and I will be Polonius hiding ourselves behind the arras." 
— MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann opening the Big Show, November 17. [36]


Hallucinating Hillary Award 
(for Promoting the Vast
Right-Wing Conspiracy)

First Place

"Where does Lewinsky fit into this conspiracy theory? Is she victimizing the President or is she too a victim?" 
— Bryant Gumbel to James Carville , January 28 Public Eye on CBS. [66 points]


"Hillary Clinton attacked her husband’s attackers, saying a lot of the criticism comes down to an anti-Arkansas bias. Well, chief among his critics, it can fairly be said, is Kenneth Starr. And the Starr Wars, it can also fairly be said, targeted Arkansas, home of the Whitewater affair and the investigation that now, four years later, seems to be winding up with the Lewinsky affair. From the beginning, Mr. Starr’s tactics and motives have come under fire, especially the way he went after low level targets..." 
— Morley Safer introducing a re-run of a story on Ken Starr’s tactics, August 16 60 Minutes. [52]

"On another front, there could be trouble for the Ken Starr Whitewater investigation. Reports continue to surface that this key witness for the prosecution, David Hale, may have been secretly bankrolled by political activists widely regarded as Clinton opponents, people that Clinton supporters call Republican haters from the far right." 
— Dan Rather, April 2 CBS Evening News. [43]

"Hillary Clinton linked Starr to a conspiracy that has even suggested the President was involved in the murder of a former campaign worker....It is Starr’s past and continuing connections with very conservative organizations and causes that have brought him into the cross hairs of the First Family. As their evidence they point to his very appointment as independent counsel by a three judge panel headed by Judge David Sentelle, who is a close ally of ultraconservative North Carolina Senators Jesse Helms and Lauch Faircloth...."
— Correspondent Phil Jones on the CBS Evening News, January 27. [40]

"If there is a ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’ at work in America, the man at its center likely is Richard Mellon Scaife, the 65-year-old reclusive Pittsburgh billionaire whose money has funded both mainstream conservative think tanks and underground attack campaigns against President Clinton.... Scaife’s money also has poured into the rabidly anti-Clinton American Spectator magazine. Editor R. Emmett Tyrell [sic] Jr. relentlessly derided the new President in 1993, a vilification campaign that won Scaife’s support."
Los Angeles Times reporter David Savage, April 17. [38]



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